Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo2018

Day 17 ‘Q’ Questing plot asking Quem Quaeritis NaNoWriMo

Day 17 ‘Q’


I was stuck in a quagmire of questions. The letter ’Q’ requests from me, Quem Quaeritis (Latin, for “Whom do you seek?”) And a quire. (Medieval manuscript)

I will focus on the quest plot: a goal or a searching for something. The quest will have a group of main characters ‘questing’. Questioning the  ‘who’ and ‘why’.

The main character is incomplete in the real world and doesn’t quite fit in.
That ‘It’ is being searched for and must be extremely important.
Overwhelming obstacles will stand in the way of the main character from getting his/her hands on ‘It’.


The main character changes into a better person by the end or may end in tragedy.

ACT 1: introduce the lead characters and their inner lacking. A lacking that can be corrected by this quest. There must be a lacking in the character.

Example: Lion is a coward (Wizard of Oz) by the end of the story he finds his courage.

ACT 2: Characters suffers setbacks, struggles, conflict- but- the characters struggle on. Dangerous Journeys with physical and internal struggles

ACT 3: The ‘IT” was found. Now, show how everyone has changed.

Here are examples of a Quest plotline:


Beowulf  by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet
Jason & the Argonauts  from Greek mythology
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Raiders of the Lost Ark by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ( I am currently reading book)
Harry Potter By J.K. Rowling
The Gunslinger By Stephen King
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
A Wizard of Earthsea By Ursula K. Le Guin

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic.” ― Ray Bradbury-the Zen Writer …

Photo by Simon Migaj from Pexels foot prints in snow

Day 10 for NaNoWriMo ‘J’ juxtaposition

I moved through the fields taking pictures of dried wildflowers. Wild thorn bushes, burrs and stickseeds  grabbed  at me as they tried to get me to acknowledge their existence.  A frantic last-ditch effort to hide their seeds  as I unwittingly  drag them back to shorter grass and soft mud, thus giving them a place to survive the winter.

I took a walk past leaning trees, milkweeds seed pods, tuffs of Goldenrod, and stickseeds the ones that grab at your shoelaces and clothing and won’t let go, even after being put through a couple of cycles in the washer. These cling-ons will survive the washing machine. I slipped out of my coat and carefully picked the seeds, one at a time from my coat, pants, shoes, gloves and my hair, which was harder to remove than gum.

Long pieces of still green stems deteriorating into pieces as I tried to peel them off, when I had looked over the quiet field, I didn’t see the seeds conspiring to rattle my day. But they did. I ended up picking-off-one-seed-at-a-time from my clothing. Getting them caught under my nails, when I try scratching them off. I’m surprised at the strength of these stickyseeds. My first impression was of a simple seed no bigger than a fruit fly. When I saw them in a different light, one of grabby, clawwy, irritating, Velcro-like seeds. They lost their first impression- luster.

A bit of a juxtaposition of what I thought this plant was and was not.

“I have suffered a great deal from writers who have quoted this or that sentence of mine either out of its context or in juxtaposition to some incongruous matter which quite distorted my meaning, or destroyed it altogether.”~Alfred North Whitehead

A juxtaposition of actions, no more a simple wave at you summer and fall plant.

A juxtaposition of sweet to irritating, pretty to hated, and losing all comparison to the Goldenrod waving at eye level, while the stickyseeds wrapped there tentacles around my ankles. What a difference a few feet made to juxtaposition my first impression of what was going to enhance my day, and what will choke me in seeds: and surprise me as I found I was used as a transport system.


I realize that the plants were similar.  I could have compared a bird and a tree, or a plant and a barn, two things dissimilar with preconceived images set in my mind, and then I could have juxtaposed them so what they had changed, and gave the reader a surprise to chew on.


Juxtaposition Examples in Literature from: examples.yourdictionary

  • Juxtaposing God and Satan – Paradise Lostby John Milton
  • Juxtaposing the haves and have-nots before the French Revolution 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness”- A Tales of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

  • Juxtaposing the struggle for life and the acceptance of death 

“Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. / Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light. “- Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas

  • Juxtaposing light and darkness 

“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! / It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night; Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear”~ Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

“Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?; That is hot ice, and wondrous strange snow!; How shall we find the concord of this discord?” ~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

  • Juxtaposing the angst of loving someone 

“I thoroughly hate loving you. Your heart is a perfectly-carved stone; Set deep into your chest, soft as granite. I grip you gently with angels’ claws; Icy breath scorching your warm, shivering skin. Your hard topaz eyes shimmer liquidly;”~  Author unknown

  • Juxtaposing violence with goodness 

“You will soon be asked to do great violence in the cause of good.” ~ The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers




Day 8 Nanowrimo ‘H’ Hooks

The unbelievable happened today. The rains stopped and the clouds parted, blue skies peeked out, then rays of sunshine followed. The air stilled. The temperatures had dropped overnight and never moved away from nearly freezing temps. Water that filled the bottom of flowerpots was half frozen, with leaves set in icy brown water, shimmering in the suns rays. I tipped the containers, they splashed and clinked sliding brown water after the ice, which slipped across the ground like a hockey puck.

Hooks can be a posed as a:
1. Question
2. A fact or observation
3. Incident or an anecdote
4. An opinion with intent to challenge
5. A fact
6. A quotation
7. A definition

Hooks begin and end each chapter to keep your reader reading.


“What is this thing? The young man looked horrified.”  ~Witch Is When It All Began (A Witch P.I. Mystery Book 1) By Adele Abbott,

“Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.”~ Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.

“On the morning of September 9, 1990, Try Walls stepped outside and surveyed a morning sky that was the color of fire near the horizon.” ~Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

“The Black Forest Mountain, southwest Germany, December 1943
This seemed a fitting place to die.” White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

“You sure about this” Rachel asked again, blowing softly on the surface of her steaming cup of tea.” Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

“Nora could feel Connor watching her.” Honeymoon by James Patterson, Howard Roughan.

“I was standing in the air-conditioned hush of Forever Bridal in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but since all I could see was a rack of plastic wrapped wedding dresses taller than my head, I could have been in any bridal shop in any part of the country.” Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Best selling books on Amazon for the week of November 4, 2018.


“The patrol officers had left the front door open” Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

“On a cold morning in early October of 1946, Pete Banning awoke before sunrise and had no thoughts of going back to sleep.” ~John Grisham, The Reckoning: A Novel.

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis

“I peed my pants last week.” Girl, wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies, by Rachel Hollis

Every one of these first lines has us wanting to know what is going on. They hook us in until we can find out what is going on.


NaNoWriMo Day 5 writing is editing: ‘E’ for Editing

Editing is Writing

I walked out into a gloomy cloudy day. The clouds had dropped so low I felt as if I were walking inside them. A grey chill spread from the wet ground and met the dreary clouds, pinning me inside that painful air pressure


By the time I got my mail, the cold dampness found its way under my coat. My head was aching. The change in air pressure heralded in a warning of impending rain. The world was covered in water; all the rain that fell the past week had overflowed into my shed.



Last night, that water pushed toads up the drain and into the house. One of my cats -Enishi- brought one to me. He dropped it at my feet. I didn’t act happy. I took the toad outside and spent the rest of the evening cuddling with Enishi, trying to make up for my mistake. If I could edit out my reaction, I would have. What I should have said was, “Good Boy!” then took the toad outside. Instead of getting worried and telling him not to touch it, he didn’t understand why, and he seemed to deflate, but he listened.

I was worried he would get an adverse reaction if he decided to chomp on the toad. Some toads can be toxic to cats. This little toad was no bigger than a quarter and I didn’t take its picture, so I couldn’t identify it.


“Toad venom can be toxic for your cat. Fortunately, toad venom toxicity is rare in cats. Still, being natural predators, it is common enough for cats to pounce on toads and come into contact with their toxin, which the toad releases when it feels threatened. This highly toxic defense chemical may enter the eyes, resulting in vision problems, or it may be absorbed through the oral cavity membrane. Its effects are lethal if not treated immediately.” ~ Petmd.com

I edited my reaction after I put the toad outside. But my cat wasn’t buying it. And I had to carry him around telling him he was a good cat and a mighty hunter. I need to edit my reaction for the next toad he brings me.

This brings me to NaNoWriMo. This is the 5th day. The day of ‘E’ for edit.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

My top ten

1) Editing is writing. Stop thinking of it as a way to cut up your creativity.
2) Cut overused words; you know, like, that, even very, anymore, only, usually, etc. Words you tend to overuse. Make yourself a list so you can find them in your text.
3) Read your creation out loud, you will hear mistakes.
4) When you ask people to read your work ask them questions. Example: What words did I overuse? Or, do you like my main character?
5) What Point of view did you write in? What tense? Does your pattern match -through out your novel?
6) Does all your dialogue move the story forward?
7) Does each scene move your story forward?
8) Do your word choices match your scenes? Scary, happy, sad, lonely, dark, light etc.
9) Now, write your plot line. Are all the acts in order?
10) Write down each scene on an index card. Boring or just the right amount of drama? Does each one advance the story? Advance the chapter?

Today my word count is 2,052 {{Happy Dance}}

Nanowrimo Day 4 ‘D’ for Dialogue with my cat

Day 4….#NaNoWriMo

I woke up to rain pelting my windows.  And, to my cat having a conversation with the raindrops running down -the outside- of my bedroom window. His nose was pressed to the glass, following the movement. Leaning away from the window, his furry cheeks puffed as he glared.  He let out a loud angry, ‘MEOW.”  Then he reared up and started pawing at the glass. He was trying to dig his way through the windowpane, to those raindrops. Raindrops with the audacity to thumb their wet noses at him.


“Stop,” I said.

My husband said, “your cat.”

“Yours too.”

The cat yowled, again.

Both of us yelled. “Shut up!”


What moved this dialogue?

Nothing. Unless we heard a noise outside the window.


“Stop,”  I said.

My husband said, “your cat.”

“Yours too.”

The cat yowled, again. Something large hit the window. Scaring the cat. He ran in the closet.

“What was that? Go look,” I said.

“Me! And be eaten by zombies. You look!”


What was at the window? It wasn’t a zombie but a raccoon. A raccoon with large claws that started pulling at the window frame. Guess he wasn’t happy being watched by a cat. (Note to self. Buy caulk.)

D is for Dialogue.

What do you need to write great dialogue?  Do you need to know where to put your noun? Where to add an action verb, how to be aware of prepositions?  Sentence structure?  Correct grammar?

Um, No.

Everyone knows someone who  habitually corrects spoken grammar … My husband is one of them. When writing, kick them out of your head.

Dialogue isn’t full sentences and correct grammar.

Dialogue’s function in a story is to reveal information, meaning, conflict, desire, and motivation, adds drama, and adds movement, creates a voice for your character making him/her real, and an IT scarier.

Drop extraneous words. If you are unsure which words to drop, then pretend you are physically in the scene and act it out.  Did it roll off your tongue? Or did zombies catch you while you were quoting the Gettysburg Address?

My example:

I want ice cream.”


“Can’t you wait?”



I recommend reading Richard Ford. He is amazing at writing dialogue. He moves the story forward with subtext to imply motives. Pay attention to his dialogue tags.


“And I guess you’re married, too.”

“I was,” I said. “But not right now.”

“That’s fine, “ she said.

“You look fine.” She smiled at me. 

~(Page 189) Rock Springs stories, by Richard Ford


And this one:


“Did you happen, “ my mother said, “to find a pair of striped socks anywhere in this house today?”

“No,” I said.

“Well, “ she smiled. “Have you eaten anything?”

“No,” I said. “But, I’m hungry.”

“I’d fix something, “ she said. Then she looked around at the clock that was beside the door to the kitchen. “I’ll fix something in a while,” she said….”

~ pg. 134, Richard Ford, Wildlife.

Listen to how you talk. Record your voice. Ignore your, Um’s and huh’s. Listen to the words. Then write them down.

Then read them out-loud.

Flash from the past.


Day 3 Nanowrimo coffee, cookies and writing the C-word

NaNoWriMo Day three. 

Writing Kitty

This morning as I headed out to get the paper I noticed that Mother Nature had a party in my yard. My yard isn’t neat. To imagine my yard you have to think, ‘horror movie.’ Tallgrass leaning over so thick at your feet it will trip you up before you take two steps; this is a great place for chipmunks, rabbits, moles, and any creature that decides to make my yard his home. And they do.

It was a small patch of flattened grass, around the base of a tree. A deer lay. They can get up and wander across the yard and eat the fallen pears and nibble on seed pods, trees, branches and still green grass, poking up and around the naturally coiffed blades.

The climax of their night was scattered around in piles of clumped pellets and a trail of un-clumped pellets that shattered apart as they decided to leave the area, these trails lead off in all directions.

***Deer pellets are larger than rabbit pellets.*** Sorry I wasn’t chasing that rabbit picture today.

Is it just me or do those deer, the ones hanging out under my trees, resemble partying teenagers in a cornfield? The only thing missing from the deer’s gathering is beer and a fire pit.

That climatic party happened without anyone seeing. It was a build-up of details, which will end with the start of a new story in about 200 days.

Today’s letter is ‘C’. Mmmm! Cookie? More like a climax. That part of your story near the end, where everything hits the fan and you are in the battle that ends the story. When everything changes. When the protagonist wins or the antagonist wins. That last fights for power or life. Where the main point of your plot is resolved. Whatever your main character was looking for he found. Or fought for and won. Or lost.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This climax ends your protagonist’s quest. think about it, why would you keep looking for something you already found?

Just like those partying deer. Their story ended (Oh, I had so many other words to use than, ended) with a nighttime party in my front yard.

Hmmm! Why do I have a taste for cookies? At this point, I need to stop and allow my cookie hunt to happen… ‘after’ I finish today’s word count. My reward.

Cookies, Coffee and Nanowrimo

Time to work on day three of NaNoWriMo.

If you are interested I found a delicious cookie recipe HERE. ‘Coconut Oil Amish Sugar Cookies’.

I tweaked the recipe a bit. I didn’t have powdered sugar or crème of tartar or vanilla and almond extract (I used some coffee creamer) and I only used 3 cups of flour. I did freeze the extra.

I do have a full month of NaNoWriMo to get through and I don’t want to be cookie-less.


Truth be told. I stopped writing and made  cookies. Then I finished this post….now, I need to get my NaNo words in for today. My reward for making cookies. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Day One A for Antagonist Prayers to the muses

Today is Day One of NaNoWrimo!


You know the National Novel Writing Month. It’s that one month when I give myself, my muse permission to write. I will write a total of One-thousand-seven-hundred-twenty-five words per day. I realize that my count is off, slightly. I don’t count the last day, that 30th day. That last day, I am busy with my happy-dance, and feeling a little sad.

Did I just say, sad…?  By the end of the month, it’s like an old friend is heading home.

A bit sad.
A bit happy.
A lot tired.
And, relieved I survived.

I have written 50,000 words in November for a number of years. The words that poured out were less than great. But, they did tell a story, maybe more my story than the characters that ran across the page. A horrible mishmash of ideas, clues, pinch points, three-act –blocks, worlds, characters running around in their underwear, like untrained puppies. My muse would act like a spoiled child, that was trying to drive off the babysitter. A lot of screaming and crying, sitting on the floor curled in a ball, not listening at all.

Each November I set up a plan, then I wrote. My eyes blurred. I heard nothing that was said around me; instead, I crawled away from my words to cook meals.

I followed the rules and drank plenty of water. I even allowed myself time to stare out the window as if I was a cat hypnotized by an invisible spider on the wall. I would tell myself that I was exercising my eyesight by focusing close up and far away. I would ‘will’ myself to ignore those dust bunnies. You’ve seen them, they ride in on a breeze and disappeared under a desk or chair. The sneakier ones hide under the couch. I will veg out wondering -why-the phone won’t stop ringing or why it doesn’t ring. Or thinking- I should clean out the kitchen cabinets or arrange by size, date, and name every piece of paper in the house. I will have an uncontrollable need to dust. I will hear that dust calling to me by name.

I continued to write. I will continue to write. I won’t ask for permission, not from myself or anyone.
No doubting
Never asking permission.

I saw Eddie Colla’s Ambition street art, his picture of a woman with a bandanna covering her nose and mouth, in one hand she holds a can of spray paint.  AMAZING!  Captioned:

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission”


I am going to add my own spin on his phrase.

If you want to write a novel, stop asking yourself for permission
If you want to write a novel, stop doubting yourself
If you want to write a novel, tell your muse you are listening

If you want to write a novel, write your novel.

Here is an A for the first day of #NaNoWriMo2018

A  for Antagonist the main character or thing or situation that comes in conflict with your main character; AKA the bad guy

Example: Sauron in The Lord of the Rings by, J.R.R. Tolkien

How about overarching antagonists like Anakin aka Darth Vader, arches over the story, linking the beginning of the story to the end.


Starting today the past tense of having written changes and I am once more writing for NaNoWriMo.

Tick-Tock! Time for me to write out my antagonist’s evil plan.